A Michael Ealy Fiction Story
Written by Tricia (@GimmeUnusual)
Later that day the police came and put me through the most grueling 20 minutes of my life. They asked for specific details…details I didn’t have. I felt so foolish explaining that I invited a man whose last name I didn’t even know to my house at 2 o’clock in the morning. The assault alone was terrible, but the interrogation was just as degrading. I had to reenact from the moment I met him till the moment I woke up in the hospital. I was drunk and stupid. I couldn’t remember all the particulars about him. I remembered he had blond hair, but his eye color??? I couldn’t remember…blue… maybe…or green…were they hazel…I wasn’t sure.
I remembered him having tats all down his arms, but they asked me if I remembered a specific one…I had nothing. I could see their eyes condemning me, looking at me like I was some type of whore. I wanted to just disappear.
And when they were done questioning me, they humiliated me a little bit more—stomping me deeper into my abyss by saying, “We hope to find him with the litt…with the information you were able to provide.” I tried my damnedest not to cry during it all, but my eyes watered immediately after that statement. I hid my face.
I think what embarrassed me the most was Michael sitting there as I answered everything. I was ashamed. I wanted to ask him to step out when the police came in but they greeted him again, recapped his story, and then proceeded with me. There was no intermission and I didn’t have the courage to request one for the sake of putting Michael out the room. So I let it be, submersing fully into my mortification.
Colin took everything away from me with a single act. I thought the physical damage was vicious—my blackened eye and the stinging tenderness between my legs, but no, he gutted me from the inside out, leaving me without pride, hopeless, and dejected. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my virtuousness was undermined. I looked like a promiscuous harlot. My image forever tainted.
The police left but not before mentioning that if they could not find anyone to fit the description I gave, that hopefully the DNA the doctor took will match someone in their database. I couldn’t help but to think Colin was probably long gone by then. When it was over, Michael stood up from his seat and climbed on the bed with me. He rubbed my back and even though his touch slightly bothered me, I allowed it.
“Damn that was rough…you alright?” he asked.
“You know it’s alright if you weren’t so strong. That’s what we’re here for. We’ll be strong for you.”
I nodded my head in agreement. I didn’t think I was strong at all, but maybe he saw something different. Shortly afterwards the nurse came in and said the doctor is completing the paperwork to discharge me. She asked if my parents could come back in and I consented. My parents and I decided that I would go back home to stay with them for a while. I had no intentions on giving up my place though; I loved my apartment and I had just moved into it.
A little over a month had passed…
Before I was released from the hospital, the doctor had given me some literature about joining a support group for rape victims. I was against it originally; I didn’t want to discuss what I had gone through with anyone else. I just wanted to put it behind me and move on. After a couple weeks of being at home with my parents, my mom pretty much bugged me about it until I finally went. The stories I listened to broke my heart. There was a 15-year-old that had been raped by her stepdad. Once she reported it, he took his own life. She suffered with guilt about her mom becoming a widow, the guilt that her mom felt for not knowing, on top of processing her own rape.
There were women there that had been raped by their own husbands, but the one that shook me the most was the one that got raped and contracted HIV. In that sense, I was blessed. All my tests had come out negative and even though I had to be retested every 6 months for up to a year, I wasn’t worried about it. I just kept hearing Colin’s voice, “I’m good.” I can’t explain how the mind works and why that gave me some solace, but it did. I realized fully that he was a monster and his words meant nothing, but I was okay with those words. In my heart I felt that every subsequent test would also be negative.
I stayed with my parents for a little over a month. Initially I just planned to stay with them for about a week or two, but the police did not find Colin. He fled like I suspected he would have and that scared the shit outta my parents…well, it scared the shit outta me too. He had my address, so my parents insisted that I would stay longer to give the police more time to find him. The police did make sufficient leeway. They discovered his last name by visiting the club where we met night after night asking questions. They tracked down one of his ex-girlfriends who were able to provide his last name and an old cell phone number. From there they were able to gather his address but when they went by his home, he was not there. He still had many of his things there, so they kept an eye on the place for a while to see if he would return for any of his things. After weeks, he still had not returned.
They spoke to his mother about notifying the police if he contacted her. The police did warn me that it didn’t seem like she would contact them because she defended him, despite him fleeing. The police told her innocent men don’t flee, but she continued to dismiss the accusations. They told me not to lose faith though…they hoped to catch up to him sooner than later. They also planned to keep watch over his mom’s house, close relatives, and his apartment. I remained optimistic but I decided that I’d remain so at my own apartment.
My parents were not ready for me to go back to my apartment but I was adamant about it. It was time and I was ready. My physical damage had healed and the emotional trauma was steadily fading away. I was ready to get my life back after…the rape. Rape. Initially that word was very difficult for me to say. The word made me feel weak and pathetic, but my support group advised me to call it what it was. I wasn’t weak during the rape; I was victimized by a weak-minded, coward. I was strong. I became a survivor.
My group also suggested me going back to my place or at least getting a new place, but to not be afraid to live alone again. “Don’t remain a victim of the circumstance; grab the horse by the reins and climb back on top of your life.” So that was my plan. I had to get back to my life.
While I was at my parents’ house, Michael called a few times just to check on me. He was sweet and I got to know him better through it all. I sent him a text message to let him know when I was coming back home. He was happy about that. The day I came back he opened his door the moment he heard me. He reached in for a hug and I stiffened. I didn’t realize that I still wasn’t comfortable having a man touch me. He noticed it immediately and let me go. It didn’t change the smile on his face.
“Welcome home,” Michael said.
“Thank you,” I smiled.
“Let me get that for you,” he said as he grabbed my suitcase. “Hi Mr. and Mrs. Donoghue. It’s great seeing you again!”
“Michael, call me Carol. It’s good seeing you as well. You’re the only comfort I have about her moving back in here. I wish she’d just stay at home, but I know you’ll look after her,” Mrs. Donoghue said.
“Of course I will,” Michael said.
“Mom, we talked about this. I just got this place and I’m not giving it up. I love it. I’m not letting him run me out of my home,” I responded.
“But Tara can’t you at least wait until they catch him,” my mom added.
“They may never catch him. He only got in here because I let him in. I won’t be doing that again. You don’t have to worry.”
“You’re right, because I’m going to buy you a gun,” Mr. Donoghue interjected.
“No dad, I’m not getting a gun.”
We debated about it all until we got upstairs to my apartment.
“Michael, I thought you said the firemen broke my door down? I was expecting a mess when I got here,” I turned to look at Michael.
“They did,” Michael answered.
“Rodney came and fixed it?”
“No I fixed it. It wasn’t much. They just broke the frame. I replaced that, sanded the door down, and repainted it and the frame. Your key should still work fine. It’s not locked right now though. I left it open so I could get inside,” Michael replied.
“Thank you so much Michael,” I said as I turned the knob and walked in.
I had an eerie feeling being back in the apartment. Everyone seemed to be looking at me to see how I was going to react, so I felt like I had to play it cool. I grinned a bit and began to walk through my apartment. I stopped in front of my bedroom and Michael came behind me.
“I got you some new mattresses for your bed. I hope that was okay.”
I turned around with tears in my eyes and hugged him. I trembled when his firm hands came around my back to embrace me in return, but a hug was warranted for such kindness.
“Thank you,” I said as I released my hold.
I didn’t step foot in my bedroom, I just looked at the bed from the doorway and then turned back to my parents.
“We’re not going to stay long baby because you don’t have any furniture yet. You know your dad has a bad hip so he can’t stand long,” my mom said.
“I can bring some chairs up here or you can come down to my apartment if you’d like,” Michael suggested.
“Oh that would be nice. Don’t you think darling?” My mom asked, looking at me.
I knew whenever my mom was concocting something in that brain of hers. She smiled and gave me a devious look. Her implications were certainly not lost to me or anyone in the room.
“Sure, we can go to Michael’s apartment,” I answered.
Michael opened the door and held it for me and my mom. We went downstairs and socialized until my parents were ready to go. Michael had a beautifully decorated apartment. A turquoise, ivory, and gold theme adorned his house. He had exquisite paintings and small sculptures all around. It kind of made me think about my conversation with Derica and Deboni—it was too beautiful to be decorated by a straight man. I laughed out loud. Of course everyone wanted to know what I was laughing at but I brushed it off as nothing.
After my parents left, fear suddenly came over me. It was getting late and I knew it was time for me to go back to my apartment, but I was scared. The voices in my head—and I’d like to think they were the members of my support group speaking to me—kept saying that I just had to make it through the first night. If I could make it through the first night, then I would be alright.
“It’s getting late, so I don’t want to hold you up any longer. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me,” I sincerely said.
“Tara you know it’s no bother at all, and you are very welcome.”
“You’ve been so kind during everything. Look we’ve never discussed what happened the first day we met and I’d really like to clear the air.”
“There’s no need; I’m over that.”
“But I want to. I should not have laughed at the jokes. My friends… I…we meant no harm. And for the record I didn’t think anything they were saying was true.”
“So you didn’t think I was gay?”
“No, not then I didn’t.”
“Ohhh…so what you saying, you think I’m gay now?” he laughed
“No,” she said as she rubbed her forehead. “What I mean is…you already said you weren’t gay and if you were, it’s none of my business. But you do have incredible taste like gay men do. Your apartment is impeccable. And the furniture…the theme…it’s so well-coordinated. It’s like a sanctuary.”
“I didn’t decorate my place. My ex-girlfriend did. She was really into fashion and decorative stuff…which is the reason we broke up in the first place…she was bankrupting me with all her shopping sprees. She dressed me, kept my nails manicured, had me exfoliating…and a bunch of stuff I never did before I started seeing her. I got used to it though and I liked it. So yeah, now I go and get my nails done without her. I go and get a massage every now and then. I exfoliate my skin and try to take care of myself. I don’t keep up with the different clothing trends, that was her department but I got enough clothes to last me a lifetime from her doings. Now I will admit to being a neat freak. I like my house clean but I’m still a man Tara. You make me feel like I’m not.”
“Michael I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. You’re a good man,” I said as I grazed my finger across his chin to make him smile back. “How long were you and your ex together?”
“A little over three years.”
“It’s okay, it’s been a while.”
“It’s been about a year since we broke up. Enough about my love life…”
“Well I don’t have one, so please don’t ask me about mine.”
“Fair enough…let’s not discuss love at all,” he grinned. “I’m going to have myself a bowl of ice-cream and sit in front of the TV. Would you like to join me?”
“Are you sure…it is getting late. I don’t want to keep you up.”
“I’m sure. You can stay as long as you want.”
“Well in that case, yes I would love to. Ice-cream is my favorite dessert.”
I was grateful for every moment I didn’t have to confront my apartment alone. Michael was my ray of light in the midst of the darkness…